Chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and lung disease are among the world’s biggest killers, claiming 38 million lives each year around the world.
In response to this devastating burden, The George Institute’s Clara Chow, Julie Redfern and a team of researchers came up with a simple but ingenious program that helped patients manage their conditions and stay healthy, using nothing more than simple mobile phone text messages.
What did The George Institute do?
TEXTCARE is a personalised text messaging support program designed to support people with a whole range of chronic diseases. It uses complex algorithms to deliver SMSs that encourage people to make changes such as taking their medications as prescribed, stopping smoking, taking up exercise or eating more healthily.
Studies in 2015 showed dramatic results with people receiving the texts nearly 1.4 times as likely to exercise, as well as 44 per cent more likely to control their blood pressure and 33 per cent more likely to quit smoking. Research has also found the texts can double the odds of people taking their medications correctly.
“Sometimes people just need ongoing encouragement to change their lifestyles, especially when they are confronted with the daily challenges outside of hospital and this program addresses that problem,” said Prof Chow.
“Too many of us have lost loved ones to stroke or heart attack, illnesses that in many cases are entirely preventable. What we have devised is a very simple solution to a very complex problem, one that will help millions of people around the world.”